Article contributed by Mike Berman, COO, Day & Nite/All Service
Though its exact date still remains a mystery, the first substantiated Wuhan, China Covid-19 cases were reported November 2019; 4 months later California became the first US state to issue stay at home orders March 19, 2020.
Slightly more than a month ago, November 24 2021 to be exact, the Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa; not even 4 weeks later the entire world was in an Omicron vice grip with US hospitals describing conditions even worse than coronavirus’s first terrifying wave. By these measures, one might logically argue that 2021 ends at least as horribly as 2020 began with fear of Omicron’s raging unknown suggesting public health will take a 2022 turn for the worse.
Between 1948 and 2021—including a period in the 1970’s when it reached a high of 12% in 1974—the average rate of US inflation stood at a modest 3.7%, making last month’s recently reported 42-year high of 6.8% inflation even more shocking. As a standalone measure, rising and uncertain future rates of inflation would also suggest 2021 was a lost year, when added to Omicron’s rampage one might then logically argue conditions are worse, deteriorating to far worse.
Stubborn supply chain problems mask the fact US manufacturing output rebounded to a 3 year high in that same pivotal month, November (2021) offering more than a glimmer of hope considering manufactured goods reach its lowest levels since 1946 in the equally key month April 2020. But when even Kraft is offering incentives to not bake cheesecakes during the holiday season, even an optimist would find it difficult to believe there’s even reasonable light at the end of this strangling tunnel.
No industry has felt the sting of worker scarcity more than hospitality, with November’s 4.2% rate of unemployment coupled with The Conference Board’s recently adjusted Salary Increase Budget Survey projecting a nearly 1% increase over their April (2020) research. Scarce labor supply + higher labor costs = limbo or worse.
Beyond establishing Shakespeare got it wrong, we should beware of the ides of November and not March, do these facts and trends not make it easy to conclude the year we are about to close the books on can be generously classified as a year in limbo? Not so fast! Some believe history repeats itself, others say it rhymes; for the hospitality industry’s purposes taking a historical view offers far more useful managerial perspective. Just like all things coronavirus profoundly disrupted every human activity so did World War II. US inflation in the big war’s aftermath hit 8.3% in 1946, topped at 8.8% 1947 and started settling down to a shade over 8% in 1948. Of course, this coincided with the aforementioned same era of compromised manufacturing output, naturally a reflection of repurposing North American factories previously used for wartime production further compounded by Asia’s and Europe’s decimated infrastructure.
In those same post-war years for easily understandable reasons unemployment rates were 3.9% in 1946, 3.6% 1947 and 4.0% 1949. Like covid, World War II was a multi-year catalytic event certain to whip up enormous tailwinds; it would have been unreasonable to expect anything less than similar conditions in the 2020’s earliest years. More than knowing this, dating back to this column’s very first edition, April 6, 2020 we offered a roadmap that, if followed, would securely put you in fullest control of successful destiny regardless of how hairy scary events beyond your direct control became. Indeed, all subsequent weekly columns have attempted to do the same.
Certainly not immune from omicron infections, product/part scarcity, inflation, labor shortages or any of the other major force currently complicating business affairs and likely to carry through 2022, the Day & Nite family of companies continues to put meaningful action behind these concepts where, by every key performance indicator and measure, 2021 has been a year of great progress. A companywide service-delivery excellence initiative first deconstructed every link in an already complex chain, sparing no detail for spotting areas for strengthened improvement. A never-ending process guided by continuous improvement imperatives, driven by highly engaged and empowered staff continues to tighten every process, squeezing out even the tiniest pockets of inefficient waste. Significant ongoing investment in already sophisticated technologies automates previously labor-intensive steps ensuring frictionless internal and external customer experiences.
This convergence, then, is hardly limited to internal functions, as the company’s customer base enjoys full benefit at a time certainty of execution for critical HVAC, Indoor Environmental Quality, Refrigeration, Kitchen and Plumbing equipment installation -maintenance – repair is more important than ever before. Conscious these complicated times required unprecedented innovation, in 2021 The Company introduced a record number of new product offerings and service options with even higher impact innovations in store for 2022. By focusing on what’s important to the foodservice industry it serves, by prioritizing highly relevant ways to improve every customer experience, and by decisive action to proactively control its destiny 2021 has decidedly been a year of great progress for Day & Nite/All Service/Popular Plumbing/Performance Air Mechanical and its hospitality customers.
Undoubtedly, the Day & Nite family of companies isn’t the only organization defining 2021 as a highly progressive year with momentum and expectations to top it in 2022. We’d like to hear from others and share these stories with Total Food Service readers so that our whole industry can move with united confidence to 2022 prosperity and profitability. Please tell us your stories of great progress for the benefit or our industry by emailing email@example.com